17 Epic Matters to Do in Nova Scotia (By a Native!)

As a Nova Scotia native, I can promise you there are such a lot of unbelievable matters to do in Nova Scotia, particularly in the event you love sunny skies, the tang of saltwater, and a heat breeze in your cheek.

Suppose lazy evenings sipping craft beer on a Halifax patio; river-rafting on the world’s highest tides, or embarking on a sea voyage to one of many world’s most fascinating and distant islands.

Suppose juicy lobster and crisp sparking wine…served as a picnic on the seashore.

No matter journey you select, let me – a Nova Scotia native – information you thru one of many world’s rising locations.

Study in regards to the 17 finest matters to do in Nova Scotia – from a neighborhood’s perspective!

17 Greatest Matters to Do in Nova Scotia

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO READERS: Please observe that this text was initially drafted earlier than the pandemic, so not all actions talked about could also be open or secure to go to in the mean time. Tourism Nova Scotia has a useful useful resource web page with the newest data on journey restrictions. Journey Lemming encourages you to keep away from journey till such time as native public well being authorities in each your nation and your vacation spot advise that journey is secure for you and the communities you’ll go to.

#1 – Hunt for Treasure at Oak Island

View of Oak Island
Oak Island/photograph: Tourism Nova Scotia

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Some locals say the Oak Island treasure doesn’t exist, or that it was discovered years in the past. Others have made it their life’s work to maintain digging, and drilling down into the advanced maze of shafts and booby traps that of their view, prevents the legendary fortune from being found.

To rise up shut and private with the legend, you may hire a kayak and paddle across the non-public island, or pre-book an excluisve tour from Oak Island Excursions. There may be additionally a four-hour Legends and Lobster expertise that features an tour round Oak Island, and a Lobster picnic on a non-public island.

Native Tip: If you wish to keep close by, Over The Method Cottage is an excellent family-friendly resort that overlooks the well-known island.

#2 – Discover Downtown Halifax and Dartmouth

Streets of Halifax at night
Halifax has an important evening life/photograph: Scott Munn, Tourism NS

Among the finest matters to do in Nova Scotia are proper within the middle of its capital metropolis, Halifax – a lovely, busy metropolis set on a big working harbor, with two stunning suspension bridges resulting in the other metropolis of Dartmouth. Actually, there are such a lot of matters to do in Halifax that we wrote an entire publish itemizing them!

Halifax is very pretty in the summertime, when it hosts a number of main annual festivals together with the TD Jazz Festival, the Buskers Competition and the Nova Scotia Worldwide Tattoo. It’s additionally the right time for excursions on the Tall Ship Silva, which could be booked upfront or from a kiosk on the boardwalk. 

There are different methods to see Halifax too. The Halifax hop-on-hop-off double deck bus excursions are extremely really helpful. Or be a part of the hilarious Harbour Hopper Tour – an amphibious automobile that drives across the metropolis and into the water!

#3 – Go Mud River Rafting on the World’s Highest Tides

several people in a raft enjoying tidal bore rafting
Tidal bore rafting/photograph: Tourism NS, Wally Hayes

Get your adrenaline pumping with one of the crucial exhilarating Nova Scotia points of interest: white water rafting on the Bay of Fundy’s tidal bore…besides in Nova Scotia, the rapids aren’t white – they’re a wealthy gravy-red.

On the Shubenacadie River Runners, skilled guides will take you out on a zodiac, and you’ll journey the rapids of the tidal bore (principally, an enormous tidal wave) like a curler coaster.

Among the rapids attain 10 ft excessive!

You’ll be able to’t fail to have an unbelievable
expertise river rafting on the Bay of Fundy, which has the very best tides in
the world. Simply don’t put on your Sunday finest – you’ll get muddy!

#4 – Go to the City of Lunenburg

view of old colorful buildings in Lunenberg
Lunenburg/photograph: Tourism NS, Acorn Artwork Pictures

With brightly coloured buildings and a wealthy shipbuilding historical past, the waterfront city of Lunenburg – a UNESCO World Heritage website – is a must-see in your journey to Nova Scotia.

There are many superb eating places in Lunenburg together with the Grand Banker Bar and Grill, and the Salt Shaker Deli. After lunch, cease into the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic which explores the historical past of Atlantic Canadian fisheries.

Enjoyable Reality: Lunenburg is dwelling to the Bluenose – the schooner depicted on the Canadian dime. If you’re fortunate, she could also be in port!

#5 – Forest Bathe, Star Gaze, and Indulge at Trout Level Lodge

person watching many stars at night with big telescope at Trout Point Lodge Nova Scotia
Trout Level Lodge is in a darkish sky reserve on the sting of a UNESCO biosphere/photograph: Tourism NS, Acorn Artwork

Trout Level Lodge is a luxurious wilderness resort deep within the Tobeatic forest, on the sting of a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

Attracting a discerning crowd, some Trout Level visitors arrive to the closest airport by non-public jet, and in years passed by, visitors would signal a confidentiality waiver to guard the privateness of fellow visitors.  

Calm down within the riverside wood-fired sizzling tub, heat up within the outside sauna, take a guided forest bathing stroll or yoga session, or – beneath darkness, look by a telescope to probably the most stunning evening sky.

The delicacies at Trout Level Lodge can also be out of this world: native meals ready with European experience worthy of Michelin stars.

#6 – Go Whale Watching on the Bay of Fundy, or off the Coast of Cape Breton

Whale tail rising out of water near Nova Scotia
Whales come to the wealthy feeding grounds off the coast of Nova Scotia every summer time/photograph: Debbie Malaidack

Whale watching is without doubt one of the hottest matters to do in Nova Scotia. Between Might and October, as much as 12 species of whales make their means up the Atlantic coast to the wealthy feeding grounds off the coast of Nova Scotia.

There are two areas the place you might be virtually sure to rise up shut and private with whales: The Bay of Fundy (round Brier Island is claimed to be the perfect), and off the coast of Cape Breton.

There are numerous tour operators that supply whale watching excursions in Nova Scotia, from giant boat excursions to intimate, completely thrilling rides in zodiacs. This tour particularly will get stable critiques, so e-book early.

#7 – Bask in Maple Syrup at Sugar Moon Farm

Maple syrup on a stick at Sugar Moon Farm in Nova Scotia
Sugar Moon Farm is a year-round attraction in Nova Scotia/photograph: Tourism NS, Len Wagg

One other treasured treasure from Nova Scotia
is the sugar maple tree.

Each spring, relying on the whim of Mom Nature, this species of tree warms up and begins operating sap, which when tapped and boiled, turns into maple syrup. The tapping season is barely 3-6 weeks lengthy between February and April, making the syrup an much more helpful commodity.

In Earltown, Nova Scotia, Sugar Moon Farm gives excursions of the sugar camp year-round. Eat your coronary heart out on pancakes and sausages within the camp restaurant or join a chef’s evening or particular packages like Canada’s Marvelous Maple Feast.

One other place to get pleasure from maple syrup, and choose up some candy souvenirs is Acadian Maple Merchandise, which is definitely on the opposite facet of the province, in Tantallon, on the best way to Peggy’s Cove.

#8 – Eat as A lot Lobster as You Can Deal with

three people eating lobster for dinner with sea in background
Lobster is in all places in Nova Scotia, finest loved with associates!/photograph: Tourism NS, James Ingram

Consuming lobster is without doubt one of the very best matters to do in Nova Scotia, and one of the best ways to get pleasure from lobster is entire, at a venue just like the Shore Membership the place they serve lobster suppers each night all through the summer time.

Unsure how you can eat it?

Don’t fear.

Most servers are greater than keen to assist newbies crack open the scrumptious and mysterious Atlantic lobster, utilizing lobster crackers, lobster picks. At some locations, there are even educational placemats in most locations displaying you how you can crack your lobster, gently pulling out the tail– and even sucking juicy meat from the legs!

However there are various methods to eat lobster in Nova Scotia. On the Yarmouth and Acadian shores, they like creamed lobster, served on toast, whereas in Halifax, you may strive lobster mac’ and cheese, lobster poutine, and lobster pasta.

If heading to Peggy’s Cove is in your Nova Scotia itinerary (and, clearly it needs to be!), take into account taking this tour that mixes with a lobster roll lunch!

In summer time, Nova Scotia even has the McLobster – a scrumptious, inexpensive lobster roll from that little Scottish restaurant all of us love: McDonald’s!

#9 – Sip Award-Successful Wines and Ciders within the Annapolis Valley

Magic winery bus in a vineyard in Nova Scotia
The Magic Vineyard Bus tour/photograph: Tourism NS, Aaron McKenzie Fraser

Within the 19th and early 20th centuries, Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley offered apples for a lot of the British Empire, however then the trade fell into decline. Quick-forward to 2020, and “The Valley” is booming once more with new industries that produce award-winning wines, ciders and spirits.

Nova Scotia has its personal appellation, Tidal Bay – a crisp, barely acidic white wine, completely paired with seafood. Nova Scotia’s Benjamin Bridge additionally makes use of a Méthode Classique, which produces “mind-blowing glowing wines that might problem any extremely rated French Champagne, ” based on the critics.

There are a number of wine excursions obtainable, however the most effective is the Wolfville Magic Vineyard Bus, which takes you sipping across the Annapolis valley… in a basic double decker bus!

Native tip: At Luckett’s Vineyard, step contained in the genuine English telephone field in the course of the winery, and name anyplace in North America, at no cost!

#10 – Climb the Boulders at Peggy’s Cove

boulders at Peggy's Cove, a top thing to do in Nova Scotia
Peggy’s Cove/photograph: Tourism NS, Matt Lengthy

Climbing over the sparking granite boulders at Peggy’s Cove is one in every of prime matters to do in Nova Scotia. Peggy’s Cove can also be one of the crucial photographed spots in Canada, and rightly so – it’s beautiful.

However Peggy’s Cove is greater than only a lighthouse. You’ll be able to e-book a guided hike or kayak tour close by with Kattuk Adventures or East Coast Outfitters, or hike the close by trails utilizing your personal map (Halifax Trails is a tremendous useful resource for this).

For dinner, order a scrumptious lobster roll at a roadside kiosk, strive the well-known steamed gingerbread within the Sou’wester restaurant, or purchase some dwell lobster at market worth, to take again dwelling!

Native tip: Not many individuals know that you may keep in a single day at Peggy’s Cove!

For luxurious, keep on the Oceanstone Seaside Resort. Subsequent door, Rhubarb Restaurant has dinner, deck events, and weekend music session.

Steps away from the rocks, Lighthouse Lane Cottages have a tremendous sea view. Click on right here to verify availability on Air BnB.

#11 – Study to Play the Spoons at an Acadian Kitchen Get together

people having fun with musical band and woman in blue dress at center in Nova Scotia
Storytelling at an Acadian Kitchen Get together/photograph: Tourism NS

Each Friday evening, there’s a kitchen celebration in Argyle, the place you may take heed to folks tales and fiddle music, and dine on lobster and scrumptious Nova Scotia glowing wine. You’ll be able to even discover ways to play the spoons!

The Acadians had been a gaggle of French settlers who referred to as Nova Scotia dwelling till in 1755, once they had been expelled en masse, and despatched again to French colonies. Enjoyable truth: The phrase “Cajun” derives from “Acadian,” – there are similarities that may be noticed in language, delicacies, and household names between Nova Scotia and Louisiana.

The Acadian tradition is robust within the Maritimes, particularly on the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores, and attending a kitchen celebration is without doubt one of the finest methods to expertise it.

#12 – Drive the Cabot Path

mountain on coastal area with curvy road and few houses on Cabot Trail
The Cabot Path/photograph: Tourism NS, Dean Casavechia

No Nova Scotia itinerary is full with out no less than somewhat highway journey, and there’s no place higher than Cape Breton.

The Island of Cape Breton, which is related to mainland Nova Scotia through a causeway, was voted #1 Island in Canada by the 2019 Journey and Leisure Awards and #1 Island within the Americas by Conde Nast Traveler’s 2019 Reader’s Selection Awards.

One of many island’s best treasures is The Cabot Path – a 186-mile stretch of freeway that hugs the highland coast on the northeastern tip of the island. A part of the freeway goes by Cape Breton Highlands Nationwide Park.

The proper highway journey by Cape Breton will take about three to 4 days, stopping alongside the best way to get pleasure from conventional Celtic music, scrumptious seafood, unbelievable mountain climbing and seashore alternatives, and warmhearted hospitality.

Oh, and did we point out the views?  Hike the Skyline Path at sundown and you’ll perceive why the Cabot Path is rated one of many prime matters to do in Nova Scotia.

Professional tip: purchase a park’s cross earlier than you go.

#13 – Step Again in Time at Fortress Louisbourg

white tent on a green flat grass and a building on background
Get up previously at Louisbourg/photograph: Debbie Malaidack

When the Fortress Louisbourg – maybe one of many best fortifications in North America–fell to the British in 1758, the British dismantled the fortifications brick by brick.

Fortunately, the precision of French engineering and the French coverage of archiving paperwork again within the mom nation meant that when historians determined to recreate the fortress within the 1960’s – there was little doubt as to how they had been capable of restore the fortress to its former glory.

Louisbourg is large, and seems like a working city, stuffed in the summertime with tons of of costumed animators dressed as 18th Century troopers and townspeople.

Most likely the perfect expertise at Louisbourg is to spend the evening by a Parks Canada Get up within the Previous! the place you may sleep in a interval tent (already arrange), with lanterns, ground mats, a propane range, and a fireplace pit. (That is positively one in your Nova Scotia bucket listing!)

#14 – Discover Nova Scotia’s Black Historical past

people looking at exhibit on the wall at Birchtown Black Loyalist Centre in Shelburne, Nova Scotia
Birchtown Black Loyalist Centre in Shelburne, Nova Scotia/photograph: Megan Hirons Mahon

If you’re taken with African American and African Canadian historical past, there are various matters to do in Nova Scotia, beginning with a Halifax-based Nova Scotia Black Historical past Tour, which incorporates the previous Halifax group of Africville.

The Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown, Nova Scotia tells the story of almost 3,000 black settlers who got here to Nova Scotia within the late 1700’s, pledging allegiance to the British crown in exchage for freedom.

Along with the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, you may find out about Black historical past on the Halifax Citadel which celebrates the WWI No. 2 Building Battalion – the primary and solely black battalion in Canadian historical past.

Attention-grabbing Reality: Within the late 1700’s Birchtown, Nova Scotia had the most important free African inhabitants outdoors of Africa.

#15 – Cycle in Nova Scotia

people riding a bike on coastal road
Grand Fondo Baie Sainte Marie/photograph: Stephanie LeBlanc

Biking is a well-liked option to get near the attractive surroundings in Nova Scotia. The “rails to trails” system (retired Canadian Nationwide railway beds which were groomed into pathways) signifies that there are miles of nice biking tracks all through the province.

The web site, Cycle Nova Scotia has 9 instructed itineraries listed in its web site, every one together with route maps, path notes and a GPS obtain. There are additionally many locations akin to Freewheeling Adventures or Kattuk Expeditions that supply day and multi-day biking excursions.

Within the western a part of Nova Scotia, the attractive, beachy municipality of Clare hosts the Gran Fondo Baie Sainte Marie yearly. The race ends with a celebratory group meal – lobster after all!

#16 – Paddle in Nova Scotia

Woman in a kayak in Nova Scotia
Ladies of the Woods Journey with Whynot Advenures/photograph: Helen Earley

There are such a lot of matters to do in Nova Scotia that may be loved from the water, and one of the best ways is in a kayak or canoe!

One of the unbelievable Nova Scotia experiences I’ve had is with Whynot Journey, which gives kayak and canoe leases and excursions from Kejimkujik Nationwide Park, together with difficult multi-day adventures just like the Ladies of the Woods tour, or the 2-day Darkish Sky Canoe journey.

view of cabin with two beds and lamps
River’s Nest Wilderness Cabins/photograph: Steve Rankin Pictures

In Cape Breton, North River Kayak‘s proprietor Angelo Spinazzola is into extra than simply kayaking. He’s an achieved musician with 7 CDs and an East Coast Music award to his title.

Native Tip: North River Kayak additionally rents unbelievable water-view River’s Nest Wilderness Cabins handcrafted by Angelo with customized constructed beds, stained glass home windows, carvings and iron rails. Click on right here to verify availability on Air BnB.

#17 – Go to Distant Sable Island

view of the sand and landscape on an island surrounded by water
Sable Island/photograph: Parks Canada, Doug Harvey

Sable Island is an enchanting, distant sand bar positioned 180 miles offshore from Halifax. Nicknamed the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”, it’s dwelling to over 350 shipwrecks, 500 wild horses, the world’s largest colony of breeding seals – and one lone, matted pine tree.

Vacationers usually are not permitted to remain in a single day on Sable Island (there are exceptions for researchers and scientists).

Sable Island excursions come at a worth (suppose 2,000 to three,000 Canadian {dollars}) – however they’re the journey of a lifetime.

Journey Tip: For those who can’t get to Sable Island, then the exhibit Over the Dunes, Past the Wild Horses, at Halifax’s Pure Historical past Museum gives you some concept of what life is like on this unbelievable nature reserve.

***

We hope you loved 17 finest matters to do in Nova Scotia – however take observe: that is solely the tip of the iceberg, and there are such a lot of extra causes to go to Nova Scotia!

There are lots extra adventures in Nova Scotia, together with household adventures; historic websites, and loads of purchasing, leisure and eating alternatives in Halifax-Dartmouth. Or how about this itinerary for an epic highway journey across the South Shore?

Begin planning these experiences and extra over at our Nova Scotia Staycation Middle.

So… cead mile failte! Or, 100 thousand welcomes to you.

On Pinterest? Click on to pin for later:

Heading to #Canada’s very own #NovaScotia soon? This comprehensive #TravelGuide has listed down a number of incredible #ThingsToDo. From river rafting on the world’s highest tides to embarking on a sea voyage to one of the world’s most fascinating and remote islands, you’re sure to have a great adventure in this #EmergingDestination!
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